BLUR has announced they will return to their hometown for a special one-off gig.

The Britpop band will be performing in a series of warm-up shows in May, including one at Colchester Arts Centre, in Church Street, ahead of their European tour in the summer.

The band made the exciting announcement to their social media followers yesterday.

The Colchester gig, which is set for Friday, May 19, will be followed by performances in Eastbourne, Wolverhampton, and Newcastle, and will come before two massive shows at Wembley Stadium, London, on July 8 and 9.

Gazette: Roots - Three members of Blur grew up in ColchesterRoots - Three members of Blur grew up in Colchester (Image: Kevin Westenberg)

Colchester Arts Centre’s director Anthony Roberts said he and his team are “thrilled to be putting on one of the biggest bands in the world”.

He added: “This is a massive band and it’s the biggest gig in our 43 year history.

“The fact there’s a Colchester connection is really special to us as a community venue. When Blur come into our venue, they will recognise it from when they hung out as teenagers which makes it even more special.

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“Individual members of the band have played here, Coldplay have played here, so we aren’t strangers to quality. But the element of celebrity makes it even more exciting.”

Colchester is the hometown of bandmembers Damon Albarn, guitarist Graham Coxon and drummer Dave Rowntree, with Damon and Graham first meeting as teenagers at Stanway School, where they were taught by Nigel Hildreth.

Mr Hildreth, who now sits on the venue's board, approached his former pupils to discuss doing a gig in Colchester and was surprised when they agreed to it.

Gazette: Proud - Nigel Hildreth taught Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon at Stanway SchoolProud - Nigel Hildreth taught Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon at Stanway School

The retired teacher added: “A number of my ex-students are well known and, of course, Damon and Graham have made it very big in the world of popular music.

“I’m very proud of what they’ve done, and it’s really encouraging to youngsters to see these kinds of things happening.”

Colchester councillor and Blur fan Darius Laws said: “It’s quite a significant moment, and Blur coming to Colchester before their Wembley shows really puts a spotlight on the city.”

Information on tickets, which go on general sale at 10am on Friday, can be found at